The Cowboys didn't play well in the Cotton Bowl but played hard, stayed in the game and had a chance to win it at the end. But Missouri made the big play, and the grades reflect the difficult night for OSU.
CLINT CHELF: B
Just like Bedlam, Chelf was so-so much of the game and great late. In the fourth quarter, Chelf directed three scoring drives. He threw for 152 yards and had runs of 23, 16 and 23 yards. But his late fumble on a sack ended OSU's hopes, and Chelf was largely ineffective in the first half. Some of that could be blamed on quite an unimaginative game plan.
The Cowboys seemed in a slumber for at least the first half. From Mike Gundy ordering a punt on 4th-and-5 from the Missouri 36-yard line on OSU's first possession, to Mike Yurcich's sideways passing gameplan to a late-to-blitz defensive philosophy, the Cowboys didn't seem to get into gear until the second half. To their credit, they almost overcame that slow start.
HALFTIME SHOW: A
The OSU band started things strong with a medley of Beatles hits. Hard to go wrong with the Beatles. After the Missouri band, the Kilgore Rangerettes took the field, the 64th straight year the junior college dance squad has performed at the Cotton Bowl. They danced to “Fame.” Hard to beat the Rangerettes.
DEFENDING SCRAMBLES: D
The Cowboys did not contain Mizzou quarterbacks James Franklin and Maty Mauk. In the first half alone, Franklin had runs of 11 and 16 yards off scrambles, while Mauk had gains of 35 and 34 yards. OSU tightened in the second half, though Franklin still had a 12-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. The Mizzou quarterbacks also completed some passes off scrambles.
DEFENDING DORIAL GREEN-BECKHAM: B
The Mizzou star had just four catches for 53 yards, and two of his catches came off plays that were initially ruled out of bounds. But DGB got loose for a 27-yard completion late in the game on a 3rd-and-9 play that set up the go-ahead touchdown. Eight incompletions targeted Green-Beckham, plus a Justin Gilbert interception and a pass that Tyler Patmon intercepted and returned for a touchdown, though the play was wiped out by a pass interference penalty. Patmon twice knocked away deep balls meant for the 6-foot-6 receiver.
The Big Ten crew had a rough night. It's not so much that four of its calls were overturned by video review or that all those overturns went against OSU. The officials seemed clueless at times, at one time even losing track of the downs.
KICKING GAME: D
The Cowboys got very little out of special teams. Meanwhile, Ben Grogan bounced a 34-yard field goal attempt off the upright, Mizzou's Marcus Murphy got loose for a 38-yard punt return, OSU twice committed 15-yard penalties on kicks and Mizzou thrice pinned the Cowboys inside their own 15-yard line.
In an age of diminishing bowl attendance, the Cotton remained strong. The announced 72,690 was legit — empty seats were few. Excellent turnout by OSU fans, who no doubt had to be disappointed at the Cowboys falling to the Cotton Bowl, and Mizzou turned out well, too.
PROTECTING CHELF: B
An OSU offensive line that lost tackle Brandon Garrett early in the game held up well. Chelf was flushed from the pocket quite a bit, but he was mostly able to find scrambling mode. However, the protection failed Chelf at game's end, when Missouri star stripped Chelf from behind on a third-down play in Mizzou territory. MU's Shane Ray returned the fumble 73 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.